AMNPS + MES40 with mailbox mod troubles

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by flareman, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    I built a mailbox mod for my MES40 and am using the AMNPS with various woods, but always use oak for a base. I nuke in microwave for 90 seconds. I use a propane torch to light it for 30 seconds, then let it burn for 10 or so minutes. It seems like I only get smoke going for 30 minutes or so then it dies. I have drilled a 1inch hole in front of the mailbox for airflow and can adjust how much air its getting. I just can't seem to keep it lit... Any advice?

    (sorry, no pics of unit at this time, will attache to another post when I can take one) thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    It sounds like a fresh air problem. I'm not familiar with the MES 40 but if it has a top vent make sure it is all the way open and maybe try opening the door of the mailbox a little to let more air in.

    I have a propane smoker with a similar mod and I cut a 4" square hole and installed a damper but found I didn't need it and just leave the hole wide open along with the top vent. I get great airflow through the chamber and my AMNPS has never gone out.

    I know Todd uses the MES but not sure if he has modded it with an external box but you could PM or call him, he should be able to help.

    Bottom line is the AMNPS needs a lot of O2 to burn correctly.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How is the mailbox connected to the MES 40 ??  Do you have the connections sealed up well so the draft pull through the mailbox ??   What is the outside temp ??  Do you have the MES heat turned on ???     

    When cold smoking, with my MES and mailbox mod, I have to warm the smoker to get a draft going....  really cold, I have to put the AMNPS inside the MES so the fire won't go out....
  4. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    I have a 4in duct adapter with flex duct (about 8 in long) with a 4in to 3in adapter going into MES. It's sealed with cold weld and duct tape. It was about 75 yesterday. MES was off as I was smoking cheese, but I've had trouble while I was doing a picnic as well. I am at work for the next 36 hours, but I will attach pic when I get home tomorrow. I'm going to be smoking some summer sausage tomorrow so I'd like to get this figured out :)
  5. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    As promised, here are some pictures of my set up. These were taken right after lighting the oak pellets. As we speak, I am making some summer sausage in the smoker and I have had to relight the pellets several times. Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  6. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Try putting mailbox on the ground so the smoke will travel up to get into your smoker.
    Also if you lite just one end of the AMNPS put that side in the mailbox first. See if that helps.
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Are you using it with the door to the mailbox open or closed? If closed, the hole in the door looks way too small to me.

    I agree with Ed, the smoke will have a hard time traveling downhill and could be choking out the smoker. You need a lot of airflow for the AMNPS to operate correctly.
  8. roadkill cafe

    roadkill cafe Smoking Fanatic

    May want to try holding the torch to the pellets a bit longer. Instructions say 45 sec. I go 45 sec. to 1 min. and keep it burning the full 10 min. Sometimes 15 min. I did some cheese yesterday in my 2012 MES 40, placed on bottom under water pan with peach pellets and got 3 hours out of about 2/3 of 1 row. No re-lights either. Maybe I was just lucky but I've been lucky several times.
  9. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Just thought of something else, are you hot smoking? With an external box you need heat in the chamber to rise and create a draft to create a draft through the external box giving the needed airflow.

    I still wonder why the external box on an MES when the AMNPS has shown very good results inside during hot and cold smoking.
  10. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    I'm starting to think maybe I need to do the external box.  Here's why:
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ED has the first point.... Lower the MB to the ground... or on a 1" X  board....   Also, is the MES exhaust vent wide open ??  Does your MES 40 have the vent in the top ??  I feel the single hole is adequate, until proven otherwise, since the door leaks pretty bad, at least in mine... and the open slit at the bottom of the door lets in enough air...   Mix some apple or other pellet with the oak... or try apple alone and see if it burns....   Some woods don't burn well alone....   Dave
  12. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    I moved the smoker to the floor, so we'll see how that works. I also drilled a second 1in hole in the back with a damper. I've still been heating the pellets in the microwave, but I may try to several runs of 90 seconds each. I'm using the propane torch to light the end for a minute or so.

     I have the external box for 2 reasons: 1) i've read that during longer smokes using heat, the heat can make the pellets burn faster 2) during cold smokes I've noticed that placing it in the smoker causes the temp to rise.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  14. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    you could possibly try attaching a low flow blower to that you can control the airflow and not lose smoke...just a idea
  15. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    Just an update: I ended up rigging a aquarium pump to the mailbox. It worked great for about 2 hours, then the smoke stopped. I think this was more due to the fact that it was so humid out yesterday. I'm going to try it again today or tomorrow. I'll post again how it works. Thanks again for all the help!
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Were the burned pellets at the corner where the turn is ???  I have found I need to pile the pellets to the top of the dividers to get it to turn the corner....  When it all falls into place.... it's AWESOME.....    Dave
  17. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    Well I smoked some bacon wrapped chicken breasts for dinner tonight and the AMNPS performed fantastically! Thank you all for the advice, hopefully it will keep working like it did tonight!
  18. Just practice and take notes, soon you'll be smokin like a pro.
  19. flareman

    flareman Fire Starter

    Final setup with air pump attached and some cheese smoking!
  20. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have to admit that I didn't read every post in this thread very carefully but in scanning them I saw no mention of using a starter fluid on the pellets. (Shoot me if I'm wrong! :781: )

    When I got my AMNPS I was told (by Mr. Johnson himself) that spritzing the first couple of inches of pellets with alcohol would help with their ignition and continued burning. I use a spritzer bottle to spray a generous amount of isopropyl or denatured alcohol where I'm going to light up the pellets. I then use a propane torch or a butane lighter to get a good flame going. After letting the flame burn for a few minutes, I blow it out and insert the AMNPS in my MES40. Works great for me.

    I also use a small soda can alcohol stove placed under my charcoal starting chimney to get charcoal going for my mini-WSM and Weber grill. It's easy to use, cheap, and very effective.

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